Fanatics Is Building Its Online Gambling Empire, Recruiting From Multiple Competitors

Written By Nicholaus Garcia on September 23, 2022Last Updated on November 3, 2022
fanatics recruiting gambling empire

When gambling companies build executive teams, there are a few similarities to professional and collegiate sports. Let’s take Fanatics, for example. Over the past few years, the sports-retail company has slowly recruited top-level talent to lead its US online gambling division. 

Similarly, when a new head coach is hired in the National Football League (NFL), a staff is built by selecting pieces from other teams that fit within the desired goal. 

Take new Chicago Bears Head Coach Matt Eberflus.

Eberflus spent four seasons as defensive coordinator for the Indianapolis Colts before coming to Chicago to steer the ship. Eberflus first needed an offensive coordinator. To fill the role, he selected long-time Green Bay Packers passing game coordinator Luke Getsy. Next, the defensive coordinator position needed to be filled. For that, Eberflus went with Colts safeties coach Alan Williams.

You see the trend. Right?

g talent and stockpiling resources are not new practices. Companies all over the US poach and recruit executive-level personnel. With that said, let us analyze a few of the team members Fanatics has hired and discuss how they can fit into the company’s grand plans. 

But for this breakdown, Fanatics owner and CEO Michael Rubin as the Virginia Halas McCaskey (Bears owner) of the company. 

Head Coach: Matthew King, Fanatics CEO

Formally: FanDuel

At one point, King was helping FanDuel become one of the top daily fantasy sports companies in the US. Eventually, the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) would be overturned, and FanDuel would look to greener pastures. 

King has the knowledge to help a company transform from one thing – a daily fantasy operator – into something else, an online sports betting juggernaut

Fanatics is in the middle of its own transformation from a retail merchandise operator to online gambling operator, which makes the King’s hire a no-brainer. 

Offensive Coordinator: Ari Borod, Fanatics CCO

Formally: FanDuel, Action Network

Fanatics’ grand plan for the online gambling market begins and ends with leveraging its 100 million sports fans who already use Fanatics and converting them into sports bettors. To do this, the company will use data from Fanatics Commerce and Fanatics Collectibles, the company’s two other businesses, to cross-sell its betting service.

To achieve this, they need someone with experience in the cross-selling space. 

Enter Borod, who held a similar role with the US gambling affiliate, the Action Network. Borod also comes from the FanDuel family tree, so his rapport with King certainly helps streamline operations. 

Defensive Coordinator: Scott McClintic, Fanatics CPO 

Formally: Barstool, Paysafe Group

Rubin has gone on the record saying he wants to create an all-encompassing product for sports fans that includes live games, betting, retail, NFTs, collectibles and tickets. To accomplish this, you need a knowledgeable product officer who can build a team to achieve the owner’s vision. 

In 2020, when the Barstool Sportsbook app launched in Pennsylvania, it quickly became the fastest download sports betting app in the US. 

Fanatics aims to open retail sportsbooks in Maryland (FedEx Field – Washington Commanders) and Ohio (Nationwide Arena – Columbus Blue Jackets). Both Maryland and Ohio will also have online sports betting. One can only imagine that Rubin has a similar goal whenever the BetFanatics app can launch in each of these states.

Additional hires at Fanatics

This is not Fanatics’ final roster – the company is still hiring. In fact, the company is still trying to fill at least 60 sports betting-related jobs. 

Other recent hires include:

  • Chris Fargis, Fanatics Sr. Director, (formally DraftKings)
  • Jason White, Fanatics CMO, (formally MTV Entertainment)
  • Andrea Ellis, Chief Financial Officer, (formally Lime)
  • Brandt Iden, VP of Government Affairs, (formally Sportradar)

Iden is the most recent hire having served previously as head of government affairs for Sportradar. Iden, also a former Michigan State Representative, was the architect of the legislative framework for Michigan sports betting.

As you can see, there is no shortage of talent in the gambling industry. Much like in the NFL, some coaches are promoted to higher positions. The safeties coach becomes a DC, and the passing game coordinator becomes an OC.

Fanatics is acquiring talent and building a team that will hopefully allow it to compete with the DraftKings, FanDuels, and Caesars Sportsbooks of the world.  

Nicholaus Garcia Avatar
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Nicholaus Garcia

Nick Garcia is a senior reporter for Playin USA. Garcia provides analysis and in-depth coverage of the gambling industry with a key focus on online casinos, sports betting and financial markets. Garcia has been covering the US gambling market since 2017. He attended Texas Tech University as an undergrad and received a Master of Arts in Journalism from Columbia College Chicago.

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